Famed theologian who shocked evangelicals with Trump endorsement once again rocks the faith world

Posted October 13

Prominent Christian theologian Wayne Grudem shocked the evangelical world when he endorsed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in July.

Now, less than three months after calling a vote for Trump a "morally good choice," Grudem is once again sending shock waves through the faith and political spheres by rescinding his controversial endorsement.

Grudem's original piece announcing his support titled, "Why Voting for Donald Trump Is a Morally Good Choice," has been taken offline, with an Oct. 9 op-ed titled, "Trump’s Moral Character and the Election," essentially replacing it.

The theologian said in the op-ed that he no longer believes there's a "morally good candidate in this election" cycle, calling for Trump to step out of the race entirely.

"I previously called Donald Trump a 'good candidate with flaws' and a 'flawed candidate' but I now regret that I did not more strongly condemn his moral character," he wrote. "I cannot commend Trump's moral character, and I strongly urge him to withdraw from the election."

So, you might be wondering what changed Grudem's mind? Like many of the well-known figures turning against Trump in recent days, it was the candidate's "vulgar comments in 2005 about his sexual aggression and assaults against women" that led Grudem to take back his support.

Grudem admitted that some will criticize him for not looking more fervently at some of Trump's past comments, agreeing that those critics would be correct, and said he wishes he would have chosen to dig deeper before endorsing.

Additionally, he expressed gratitude for for removing his earlier piece expressing support of the Republican candidate.

But Grudem's rebuke of Trump was anything but a proclamation of support for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, as he wrote that she is "no better," and cited a list of what he believes to be her most dire failings both before and while serving in public positions.

"She vilified the victims of Bill Clinton’s sexual advances; she abandoned our diplomats to be killed by terrorists in Benghazi and then lied about it," he wrote. "She illegally handled classified emails on her private server and put national security at risk; she left much of the world in chaos after four years as Secretary of State; and she has a lifelong pattern of acting as if she is above the law, protected by the Obama administration’s Justice Department, the FBI, and the mainstream media."

Grudem's op-ed concluded by candidly discussing his own confusion over what to do at the polls on Nov. 8. While he said he will absolutely not vote for Clinton and is hopeful that Trump will drop out, the theologian is clearly conflicted.

Among his other proclamations, Grudem discussed the role he believes Christians should have in government, saying he thinks they should "seek to influence government to function in ways consistent with scripture."

But he also warned about what happens if Christians simply decide to reject both candidates and write a candidate in, as many have openly pledged to do.

"If all the Christians in the country decide not to vote for either candidate, our rulers will then be chosen entirely by non-Christians, many of whom will increasingly use the immense power of government to promote evil, silence Christians, and oppose Christian values in every area of life," Grudem wrote.

His uncertainty paints a stark contrast to his remarks in July, when he said there is "nothing morally wrong with voting for a flawed candidate" and that Trump is a "good candidate with flaws."

Grudem's decision to pull back his endorsement comes as other well-known Christians and Republican politicians call on the candidate to step out of the race. Republican Sens. Rob Portman, Kelly Ayotte and Mike Crapo are just some of the individuals who have separated themselves from Trump after a tape featuring lewd comments uttered in 2005 emerged in recent days, as ABC News reported.

"I'm a mom and an American first, and I cannot and will not support a candidate for president who brags about degrading and assaulting women," Ayotte said. "I will not be voting for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton and instead will be writing in Governor Pence for president on Election Day."

House Speaker Paul Ryan also abandoned plans to campaign alongside Trump and put out a statement saying that he was "sickened" by the audio of Trump discussing groping women.

Trump has issued apologies since the audio leaked, including one at Sunday night's debate during which he called the remarks "locker room talk."

"I’m not proud of it. I apologize to my family," he said. "I apologize to the American people. Certainly I’m not proud of it. But this is locker room talk."

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